In July of 2010 I went to Houma Louisianna to meet some family members I’d never met before. The experience was strange, to say the least. 120-some odd folks paraded around the large convention room rented out for my family. “I’m related to these people.” I kept reminding myself as 5’4″ tan skinned people greeted my sister and I. We were the undoubted oddballs in the facility. With tall, lanky builds and a redhead sister, we became instantly recognizable. People approached my sister and I, and looked on lovingly. “I remember when you were just 2 years old,” they all said. Trying to keep their names straight in my head, I attempted mutual recognition. Grandpa Alsace Lebeouf had 9 kids. One of which was my great grandma, who gave birth to my grandpa, then my dad.
Asking my parents about the reunion sent them into a frenzy of counting. Lou, Beverly….Etc., Leroy…. No she/he was from another marriage. My dad and mom deliberated all the stats. We had a big family, one I had no idea even existed. My family is a little disjointed to say the least, and to be honest, we’ve always been a little isolated. We’re not close to our “cajun” family nor our “st. Louis” family on my Mom’s side. Every encounter, I grin and try to remember the same names I’ve been reminded of 10 times before.
The reunion was an interesting experience to say the least, and the undoubted centerpiece was a large family tree that spanned 20 feet along the back wall. Lebeouf, Baptiste, all the way back to the late 1400s in France. Needless to say, I spent 30 minutes following the tree back to the roots in Northern France. Despite this, many of the relatives that far back have gone long since undocumented.
A reexamination of the family tree shows Marie Josephe Trahan who was born on 03 March 1766 in Morlaix France, and she died the 19 December 1844 in Thibodaux, LaFourche, LA. She stood out to me the most because of the difference between where she was born and where she died. An interesting transition occurred in my early family. The tree is very confusing because there is no clear pattern where everyone went. Starting generally in Morlaix, they went to Acadia and then to Thibodaux Louisiana. However, there are some strange transitions back and forth. Marie should have been born in Acadia, because her mother was, but instead, she was born in Morlaix. Why there was a counterflow of immigration; I can only guess. But it shows a clear indication that familial ties were strong in both Morlaix, Acadia, and Thibodaux. Why? Because examination of the tree shows that family members immigrated to and emigrated from the west frequently. Further, many relatives around Marie have no date of death, showing poor documentation. In contrast, Marie’s exact birth and exact death were documented. Perhaps she held some sort of significance in her community.
WOAH! A little extra research on Acadian-Cajun genealogy shows that there was an exile in 1755 in Acadia that forced people to either return to France or move to Thibodaux; this explains the scattering of family members. Marie’s mom Margueritte was likely exiled from Acadia and then gave birth to Marie back in France.